Africa will have a high stake in tonight showpiece in Madrid as three stars including Liverpool’s duo Mohammad Salah (Egypt), Sadio Mane (Senegal) and Tottenham Hotspurs’ Victor Wanyama (Kenya) are all expected to face off in the Champions League Final.
The African stars helped their sides to secure the final with Mane and Salah having scored four goals each for Liverpool in this competition this season. Wanyama has also been instrumental in Spurs’ journey to the final.
Salah missed the second leg of the semifinal against Barcelona through injury but he is now fit to face Spurs.
Both Liverpool and Spurs had dramatic comebacks to qualify into the final. The two English giants had been almost written off after losing the first legs of the semifinal.
Liverpool had lost 3-0 to Barcelona at Nou Camp and a comeback looked unlikely since they needed to score at least 4 times without conceding in the return leg at Anfield. This is exactly what they did to see off the Spanish giants and to silence all the doubts hence booking a place in the final.
Tottenham had also lost 1-0 at home to Netherlands champions Ajax which meant they needed to score at least two goals in Amsterdam without conceding in order to qualify. After going down by two goals after the start, a Spurs comeback looked all but gone to make matters worse for the north London club.
A second half hat trick that included a last-minute goal from Brazilian forward Lucas Moura saw Spurs complete one of the most dramatic comebacks in the history of the competition. Spurs qualified to the final on away goals after a 3-3 goal aggregate.
The two clubs will be delighted to play in the final after such breathtaking encounters that had got them from the edge of elimination.
It will be the first time two teams from the same country meet in the Champions League final since 2008 when Manchester United met with Chelsea. This is also going to be the second of the two all-English European finals this season having seen Chelsea stun Arsenal 4-1 in the Europa League final last week in Baku Azerbaijan.
Both the Liverpool coach Jürgen Klopp and his Spurs counterpart have not won a trophy since joining their clubs and each will be looking to end that that record tonight.
The journey for both teams to reach the final has not been an easy one with Liverpool having faced a must-win last group game against Napoli to qualify to the second round.
Tottenham also stated with a nightmare of failing to win any of their three opening group stage games becoming the second side to do so and still go on to reach the final after Inter Milan in 2010 who went on to become champions.
Spurs had to wait until the final match in the group stages where they secured a 1-1 draw against Barcelona at Nou camp to beat Inter Milan to the second position in the group behind Barcelona.
With both teams have met twice in the Premier League this season, Liverpool will go into the final as favorites having outclassed their opponents winning 2-1 in both legs.
Spurs also go into the final with some boost as their veteran striker is available for selection having sat out for two months with a ligament damage. Harry Winks has also been decaled fit for the showdown in Madrid.